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Literary Analysis Essay of Joyce Kilmer's 'Trees'

0 August 11 2014, 14:26 in Literary Essay

Literary Analysis Essay of Joyce Kilmer’s ‘Trees’

The poem ‘Trees’ by Joyce Kilmer is a famous piece of the author. It showcases the speaker’s connection with nature and how it brings impact through the use of language and literary elements. Though the approach remains to be simple, Kilmer presents readers with ‘trees’ with humanized emotions which transcends and gives deeper value when further analyzed. These features in turn create good impression of how man connects with nature and the realization that a divine presence makes all these possible.

Examining the structure of the poem, it is composed of seven stanzas comprising of two lines each. The end of each line rhymes with one another which make it catchy for readers. Likewise, the poem is patterned specifically to complement the description of a tree. Specifically, it begins with offering a physical portrayal and then provides a connection where the speaker associates the magnificence and grandeur of a tree to God. Arguably, it is through the use of this structure that readers are able to comprehend the significance of a ‘tree’ from its simplistic function to a bigger impact it contributes to nature.

Language use and use of literary elements is also another valuable feature exhibited by Kilmer in her piece. Here, the language remains simple but remains to be powerful because it effectively utilizes words that are appropriate and significant to the objective of the speaker. For example the line by Kilmer that mentions "Upon whose bosom snow has lain; | Who intimately lives with rain” (1) remains to be powerful due to how words are used to evoke feelings and emotions. In addition, the use of literary elements such as metaphor and personification create a deeper meaning to a simple piece. According to Vinciguerra, "it records in memorable form — for verse is a mnemonic device, among other things — some emotion which very nearly every human being can share” (1). Evidently, this remains to be seen as Kilmer tries to reach out to readers of the poem.

One of the most important themes presented by the poem is the speaker’s religiosity. It can be seen that the description of trees depicts that of amazement and admiration to the process of its growth, its benefits and the impact it creates to humanity. These benefits altogether remain to be significant in showcasing the power of God, who created these living things with a common objective and purpose. Specifically, the last lines of the poem where Kilmer mentions "Poems are made by fools like me, | But only God can make a tree” (1) depicts the significance of a higher being in making all these possible.

Another critical theme presented by the poem is the notion of human’s relationship with the divine. Arguably, one of the important points highlighted by Kilmer’s poem is how man has constantly found ways to interpret the beauty of nature, through the development of art. However, it remains to be unable to expound on its complexity, depth and value. It cannot fully capture its relevance and essence. Even if this may seem to be the case, Kilmer finds a way in her own special way to connect with nature, through trees and recognize a higher power who is capable of such (Holistic Wayferer 1). This is evident despite the fact that an ordinary tree can become a subject for something good, a masterpiece in its own way.

Overall, Joyce Kilmer’s poem depicts the speaker’s wonder surrounding trees and how it connects with the overall beauty and grandeur of nature. Even if it is written in a simple language, Kilmer’s use of metaphor and personification enabled readers to gather a deeper insight on themes related to religiosity and man’s connection with nature. These in turn have enabled the poem to transcend through the test of time and be appreciated by generations young and old.

Works Cited

Holistic Wayferer. ‘Trees by Joyce Kilmer’ A Holistic Journey, 24 Jun. 2013. Web. Accessed 3 August 2014.

Kilmer, Joyce. ‘Trees’ Poetry Web. Accessed 3 August 2014. 

Vinciguerra, Thomas. ‘A Tree Grows, and Grows’ The New York Times, 16 Aug. 2013. Web. Accessed 3 August 2014.

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